European Flooring

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

La Maison de Tunisie - Handmade European Terra Cotta Tile in the Moresque Style

According to Wikipedia, "Moresque is an obsolete alternative term to "Moorish" in English, and in the arts has some specific meanings. By itself the word is used of forms found in ornament and decoration in the applied arts in Europe. Often it is a synonym for arabesque or interlace patterns in the Mannerist and Northern Mannerist styles of the 16th century, derived from Islamic ornament."

Moresque design is not to be confused with Islamic designs - the first being derived from the second - and then mixed with the Italian and French Renaissance applied arts.  This comes as no surprise then how designers and architects have embraced this Moresque style.  How we love French and Italian Renaissance!  Then mixed with the larger geometric patterns found in the Islamic arts?  Subtract the religious motifs...and the combination is a thoroughbred for the American design palette.

I must admit, when creating our latest terra cotta tile collection, La Maison de Tunisie -I did not know the nuances between Morsque and Islamic applied arts. François and I created La Maison de Tunisie for the connection François has with Moorish culture.  Growing up in Tunis, Tunisia as a child while his father was a professor at University, François connects with this specific applied art...but maybe he did not even realise that it was with the Moresque and not the Islamic arts that he truly admires.  Going back to the definition of Moresque style - Francois' French culture combine with motifs pulled from the Islamic culture - and thus...La Maison de Tunisie at Pavé Tile was born. 

Yet...we must add in another American culture.  Understanding the American color palette - specifically for flooring! - bright pinks, greens and yellows are wonderful -  but not for the majority - and not something to live with long term and on a daily basis.  We seem to value natural earth tones - and tone on tone patterns.  Patterns that are certainly there...but not overwhelming the rest of the room.  We also value a neutral color palette- grays, black, white and brown.  This is quite different from both the French and Italian Renaissance and the Islamic applied arts where pinks, greens, yellows and bright blues are the norm.

Pavé Tile was born from a marriage of François and me - two cultures in symbiotic harmony...(except late at night when we still have dishes to do and lunches to be made).  Pavé Tile is the deep understanding of the artistic American aesthetic - those who value open culture mixed with traditional elements - fusing French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and now Moresque design.

La Maison de Tunisie is first, an incredible collection for it's beauty.  The geometric patterns appeal to our visual concepts of what we like to see  - not to frilly or floral - a balanced mix of masculine and feminine qualities.  Pattern is something we love - and one can have it here.  Endless pattern covering an entire floor or create area rugs - visually this floor will always be breathtaking.

Second, La Maison de Tunisie is an incredible terra cotta tile collection for it's durability and quality.  Using our handmade European terra cotta tile as our canvas - we distress and kiln fire all our designs.  An installation of a Maison de Tunisie floor will outlive your grandchildren. As well, terra cotta tile is a living material - it will age beautifully.  This means endless beauty and character for the generations ahead of you.

Lastly, La Maison de Tunisie is an organic material that will bring warmth to any room.  Combined this with metal and glass elements - a mix of vintage and contemporary decor - and you will create breathtaking elegance outside the box.

To see the entire collection, please view it on our website:  

Enjoy your month of August and come September, if you yearn for the hot temperatures again, think of the warmth of La Maison de Tunisie and have sunshine in your home all year long.

A Bientôt,
Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile and  Stone, Inc.